5 Places in the DC Area to Satisfy a Craving for Korean Fried Chicken

It's time for ultra-crunchy, double-fried birds.
Korean fried chicken wings from Bonchon still reign king. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Bonchon

Mutiple locations in MD, VA, DC

We’ll go ahead and say it: Bonchon rules. It’s the crunchiest, stickiest, most addictive Korean fried chicken around. The international chain has mastered double-frying poultry, and perfectly lacquers the birds with spicy or soy-garlic glaze. The quality of other menu items can vary between franchise, but why go if not for the chicken? The first District branch recently opened, meaning even car-less city dwellers can get a taste.

Cheogajip Chicken

4300 Evergreen Ln., Annandale; 13814 Braddock Rd., Centreville

Cheohajip may not have the same ring to it as its two-syllable counterparts—a rough pronunciation is cho-ga-jeep—but there’s no need to speak while stuffing your face. You’ll find a variety of poultry options, including aromatically-spiced fried birds, truly searing “hot and spicy” glazed wings, or a supreme version drizzled with kewpie mayo. Healthier eaters can opt for marinated roast chickens, while on the other end of the spectrum, there’s a bulgogi-topped meat lovers pizza (yum?). Like Bonchon, the eatery is a franchise out of Korea with over a thousand locations worldwide.

Kochix

400 Florida Ave., NW

Shaw’s mom-and-pop chicken shop double-fries wings and drums in true Korean fashion, ensuring crunchy birds; the two-time treatment also helps the skin stay crisp for delivery, which the eatery offers via Caviar. Pick between three sauces: hot-spicy, soy-garlic, honey-spicy,—we like latter best. The rest of the menu is pretty eclectic, with bibimbap alongside mozzarella sticks.

Mandu late-night

Fried chicken isn’t always on chef Danny Lee’s menu, but he knows when the addictive dish is most needed: late-night at the bar. The kitchen dishes up double-fried wings and drums in the wee hours every night of the week, glazing them with soy-garlic sauce. Round out a meal with the restaurant’s delicious pan-fried dumplings and a cold OB beer. There’s a reason why Mandu is a favorite post-work hangout for nearby chefs.

Momo chicken and jazz

This industrial Bethesda joint gets points for creativity—we haven’t come across a KFC with soft jazz tunes playing over the speakers, or one with such an extensive happy hour (hard to go wrong with fried chicken and $9 Bud pitchers). The kitchen practices the traditional double-dip in the fryer, and offers soy-garlic or spicy glazes. One difference: white meat breasts are an option alongside drums and thighs. The menu itself is fairly expansive, offering noodles, grilled dishes, and kid’s options.

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Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.